The Metropolitan Transportation Authority launched Tuesday a pilot program of so-called "Help Point" units that are expected to make the subway system safer and replace old call boxes throughout the subway system.
The Help Point devices have a bright blue light when activated. Riders can press a red button for emergency help or a green button for information.
The devices are being installed on the Lexington Avenue line at the 23rd Street and Brooklyn Bridge Stations. The Brooklyn Bridge station's device is wireless while the 23rd street Help Point is hard-wired.
The MTA is still experimenting with the details.
"This takes advantage of modern technology, the clarity of the information, our ability to be able to do it, takes advantage of the improvements in telecommunications that we cannot have imagined at the time that those systems were put in place," said MTA Chairman and CEO Jay Walder. "So it is time to make this change, but we need to do it in a careful, step-wise fashion. Test it, get comfortable with it, see how it's working, decide how the technology can best be employed."
The pilot program will last a few months, and then the MTA will determine whether to replace the call boxes with Help Point devices.